Historic Fort Snelling

Historic Fort Snelling: A Landmark and Must-Visit Destination in Minnesota

Fort Snelling is a historic landmark that holds a significant place in the history of Minnesota. It was originally built in the early 1820s as a military outpost for the United States Army. It was also used as a base for soldiers during the Civil War.

Today, it serves as a museum and educational center, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and the chance to learn about the important role the fort played in shaping the region’s history.

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Why is Fort Snelling important?

Preserving the history of Fort Snelling is of utmost importance for both locals and tourists alike.

It provides us with valuable insights into the challenges faced by those who came before us and helps us better understand the present.

In addition to its historical significance, Fort Snelling also offers visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of Minnesota.

Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, the fort is surrounded by amazing scenic views.

Fort Snelling Remembrance

Construction and Design of Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling was constructed between 1819 and 1825 using locally sourced limestone and involved the labor of soldiers, civilians, and enslaved people.

The fort’s design was a quadrilateral with bastions at each corner and was strategically located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

Over the years, the fort underwent several expansions and renovations to accommodate changing military needs. They’ve added barracks, officers’ quarters, and a hospital.

History of Historic Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling is an important historical site in Minnesota with a rich and complex history. 

Established by the United States Army in 1819, the fort’s primary mission was to protect American interests in the fur trade and maintain peace with Native American tribes in the area. It served as a military post until 1946.

In the aftermath of the Dakota War of 1862, Fort Snelling was used to imprisoning around 1,600 Dakota men, women, and children in a hastily constructed prison camp. The conditions were harsh, and many people died from disease and starvation.

In Mankato, Minnesota, over 300 Dakota people were hanged in the largest mass execution in US history.

During the Civil War, Fort Snelling played a critical role as a training and recruitment center for Minnesota soldiers who fought for the Union. 

The fort also served as a strategic location for monitoring Confederate activity in the region.

In the early 20th century, the fort was used as a training center for the 25th Infantry Regiment. One of the four all-black regiments in the US Army. 

Today, Fort Snelling is a historic site managed by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Despite its turbulent past, the fort remains an essential part of Minnesota’s history and a testament to the challenges and triumphs of America’s past.

Historic Fort Snelling Buildings

Things to Do and See at Fort Snelling

A visit to Fort Snelling today offers an opportunity to explore the history and culture of the region. Here’s what you might expect to experience during a visit:

Tour of the Fort

Visitors can take a guided or self-guided tour of the fort, which includes exploring the various buildings and structures, such as the barracks, officers’ quarters, and hospital. 

The fort has been restored to its 1820s appearance, providing an immersive experience of what life was like for soldiers and civilians during that time period.

Interactive Exhibits

There are a variety of interactive exhibits throughout the fort that allow visitors to engage with history in a hands-on way. For example, you can try on historical clothing, learn how to cook over an open fire and participate in military drills.

Historical Interpretation

Historical interpreters are stationed throughout the fort to provide insights and answer questions about the history and culture of the region. They might share stories about the daily life of soldiers and civilians, or provide information about the fort’s role in specific historical events.

Special Events

Fort Snelling hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, such as living history reenactments, cultural festivals, and educational programs. These events provide a deeper dive into specific aspects of the region’s history and culture.

Tips for Making the Most of a Visit to Fort Snelling

Wear comfortable shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes that are appropriate for the weather.

Check the weather: Fort Snelling is open year-round, but weather conditions can vary greatly depending on the season. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your visit so you can dress appropriately.

Allow plenty of time: There’s a lot to see and do at Fort Snelling, so plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the site.

Consider a guided tour: Guided tours will give you better insights and a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the site. T

Be respectful: Fort Snelling is a historic site and museum, Visitors are expected to be respectful of the site and its artifacts.

Follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the Minnesota Historical Society, and be mindful of other visitors and the historical significance of the site.

Check for special events: Fort Snelling hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. You can see living history reenactments, cultural festivals, and educational programs.

Check the schedule on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website to see if any events are happening during your visit.

Fort Snelling Entrance

How much does it cost to go to Fort Snelling?

The admission fee for Fort Snelling is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+) and college students, $8 for children ages 6-17, and free for children ages 5 and under. There are also discounts available for military members and their families.

Is Fort Snelling Still Active?

Fort Snelling is no longer an active military installation. It was decommissioned as a military post in 1946 and subsequently turned over to the Minnesota Historical Society, which operates it as a historic site and museum.

Today, visitors can explore the restored fort and learn about its history and the role it played in the development of the region.

While it is no longer an active military installation, Fort Snelling remains an important historical site and a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Where is Fort Snelling?

The historic Fort Snelling is located in Saint Paul Minnesota, in the United States. 

It is situated on the bluffs above the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, near the city of St. Paul. 

The full address of the historic Fort Snelling is: 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.

What else can you do near Fort Snelling?

Minnehaha Regional Park

Located just a few miles from Fort Snelling, Minnehaha Regional Park. It is home to the stunning Minnehaha Falls. Plus there are hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and more. You can dive over, or take the trail located in Fort Snelling State Park.

Mall of America

Just a 15-minute drive from Fort Snelling, is the Mall of America. It is one of the largest shopping centers in the world. In addition to shopping, you can also enjoy the indoor amusement park, an aquarium, mini golf and more.

Fort Snelling State Park

Located just south of the fort is Fort Snelling State Park. The park has great hiking trails, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Make sure to visit pike island and see where the Minnesota River and Mississippi River meet.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Located just a few miles from the fort, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful natural area that offers hiking, wildlife viewing, and other outdoor activities.

Historic Fort Snelling National Cemetery

Located adjacent to the fort, the Historic Fort Snelling Cemetery is the final resting place for many soldiers and veterans, including some who served in the Civil War and other conflicts.

Must See Visit

Fort Snelling is a must see for anyone interested in the history of Minnesota. The fort’s significant role in shaping the region’s history.

From the tour of the fort to the interactive exhibits and special events, there is much to see and do.

When visiting Fort Snelling, remember to follow the guidelines set forth by the Minnesota Historical Society and be respectful of the site’s historical significance.

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